[flight] n.1. the act, manner, or power of flying. 2. swift movement, transition, or progression: the flight of time. 3. a soaring above or transcending ordinary bounds 4. an imaginative, or unrestrained exercise or display
I am not a religious person in the “traditional” sense of the word. I am, however, a deeply spiritual person. There are certain rituals and observances that I have chosen from my up-bringing and life-experiences that provide me with comfort, guidance, inspiration and structure; a context for understanding and interacting with the world in which I live…Some of them have remained constant throughout my life, but I’ve “tweaked” many of them to make sense for myself and to make them “useful tools” for my life in good times and in bad…I have embraced and rejected things that do not resonate for me spiritually. For me, a feeling of “honesty” between myself and whatever that Divine Power is, a genuine-ness in my expression and experience has become the litmus test as to whether I embrace or change, or even reject different “pieces” of religious belief and practice. Just as I have come to the realization that there are specifics which make sense to me, there are other beliefs, observances and doctrine which I have decided are not a good fit for me.
I had quite an ecumenical up-bringing, which provided me with many opportunities to “try on” and to understand, indeed to appreciate, diversity. I have experienced what it is to be a part of the “mainstream” or more popular religious beliefs and practices around me. I have also experienced being in a religious minority with more “extreme” beliefs and practices. I have experienced a range of things from being swept up in a moment to being alienated and isolated at other times. I have felt sanctuary, security, hope and community. I have felt anger, fear and judgment in the context of organized religion and personal spiritual journey. Through the years and through different life-stages and experiences, I have grown and changed in many ways. Maturity, education and cultural context have broadened my understanding of, and appreciation for, the significance and importance of religion for individuals and for society; from what it means for individuals to families and cultures and across generations. I do not have a “name” for my now chosen beliefs and practices; the way I have chosen to live my life and to express myself is more important to me than identification with a particular group or tradition. I have strong feelings and thoughts about spirituality and religion (as I understand it), and in how I share that part of myself with and teach my children. Like many others, my spiritual beliefs and practices define my responsibility to and role as a member of society, both locally and globally.
Regardless of my personal practices and beliefs, I do hold strong opinions and beliefs that there are as many “answers” as there are people and times…and I try to withhold judgment of other people, customs and cultures from that place of respect. I don’t do that perfectly; there are situations and practices (and people) which make the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Out of respect for humanity and for social justice, there are simply some things (expressions, actions and practices) I find extremely threatening, socially irresponsible and incomprehensible. At this time and place in my life, I find those situations to be the exception rather than the rule. I have come to see and to understand the different ways other people and cultures observe and celebrate their spiritual and religious beliefs like facets of a jewel…and even more brilliant and inspiring than something of a singular or extremely limited cut!